In wake of budget deal, Congress slices up trillion-dollar pie

As Washington empties out for the holidays, a final budget fight will play out in the nearly empty Capitol building as congressional staffers parcel out more than $1 trillion to fund everything from cybersecurity to student loans. Unlike the knock-down budget battles that paralyzed government for much of the year, this debate will largely take place within what one lobbyist calls a “cone of silence” with Republicans and Democrats aiming to minimize discord as they race to set spending levels for thousands of individual government programs. It’s a chance for Congress to demonstrate that it is capable of doing its job after two years in which lawmakers let the government run on automatic pilot when they weren’t shutting it down or imposing indiscriminate spending cuts. There may be only so much they can do to influence the process as lawmakers retreat into their chambers to write the complex spending legislation.

    

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